Hello everyone, I am debating on whether I should pursue surgery or not and I need some opinions.
First of all, I am 20 years old and I suffered a herniated disc at the L5-S1 back in April 2012 (When I was 17 y/o). Since then I have constantly had a burning/tingling sciatica pain in my leg, whether it's from sitting for 20 minutes or from walking/physical activity. It originally took a while to figure out what the problem was so i didn't actually know it was a herniated disc until 3 months later. That's when I went to a physiatrist and received 2 epidural injections (about 2 weeks from each other), which didn't really help. He told me he didn’t recommend surgery because of my age and also because it was a small herniation (I'm not sure the exact size). I did a couple months of physical therapy with the "Mckenzie Method", and while it did give some temporary relief, I still regularly had pain in my leg. After that they basically told me to wait it out and it should heal on its own. Since then I’ve seen a chiropractor for about 3 months, tried some more McKenzie method exercises on my own, and did acupuncture, yet nothing has effectively relieved my pain 3 years later.
Now I am considering having surgery. The pain is somewhat manageable but it still affects my quality of life. There's been times where i rejected doing physical activities with friends just because i didn't want to deal with the aftermath of sciatica pain. To be clear, there's virtually no pain in my back and it's rarely been a problem. At this point I just want a permanent fix for my sciatica pain. Also another thing that worries me is I read that the nerve can become permanently damaged if compressed for too long. And as I've said it's been 3 years and the nerve is still apparently compressed.
So my question is, what would you guys do if you were in my situation? I'm not asking for medical advice, I just want to know other people's opinions. Would you try to pursue surgery? Are there any other options you would try at first? Any response will be appreciated. Thank you.